We live in a world of prosperity and abundance compared to how it has been for all of recorded history. Why do we then have problems like ‘burnout’ infecting the corporate world? Why are people exhausting themselves to mental paralysis? Why do managers and their teams often show signs of work burnout?
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that occurs when you are feeling constantly overwhelmed, emotionally drained and are unable to respond to demands on your intellect and emotions. It is generally caused by a prolonged period of excessive stress and ‘is accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others.’ Burnout makes it almost impossible for you to function anymore.
In this blog, we will explore the condition of burnout, its typical causes and how to strategically deal with it, especially if you are a manager who has lots of demands on her time. By the end of the blog, you will have a better idea of work burnout, and how to deal with it.
Causes of Work Burnout:
There are several causes that can lead to work burnout. Some of the major ones are discussed below:
One of the major reasons behind a work burnout is excessive workload on an employee. Overwhelming work demands that require long hours without rest can take a heavy toll on the functioning of an employee, and the resulting work exhaustion can lead to a severe work burnout.
Another common cause of such work burnouts is unclear expectations regarding the role of an employee. If you don’t have a clear idea of your goals, and are not made aware of your responsibilities but are constantly being asked to do things that lie outside your role as a manager, then there is a high chance of you getting burned out soon.
Lack of Control:
In the corporate world today, this is one of the major reasons behind a manager’s work burnout. He is not able to exercise enough control in the domains where he expects to exert control, and this resulting helplessness can take a toll on the manager’s performance and can lead to unwarranted work exhaustion.
There are instances when you, as a manager, feel that there is a sword hanging above your neck and this insecurity can deeply affect the way you fulfill your role. If this goes on for long, it can lead to chronic stress, and this prolonged stress can eventually lead to work burnout. Stability of a job is essential to good mental or emotional health.
Another cause that can lead to work exhaustion and burnout is a hostile work environment. If your supervisor doesn’t treat you well, or is indifferent to your work efforts, and your peers are unsupportive and are constantly trying to mire you in conflict, all of this toxicity can hamper your functioning, leading you to a burnout.
Also Read: 20 Things to Do on Long Weekend
How to Combat Work Burnout?
Now that we have seen the reasons behind a manager’s burnout, we can focus on some strategies that you can use to avoid it, while also highlighting ways to tackle a work burnout.
Try to have clear communication lines between you and your supervisor, also encouraging your team to discuss their concerns, challenges and other stressors. This would help everyone to discuss potentially stressful situations, thus lessening the chances of work burnout.
Set the Right Expectations:
Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself or your team, and if you are put into a position where what is expected of you is unclear, talk to your supervisor and clear it out. Make sure that you are never completely overwhelmed by work, and your goals and responsibilities are achievable.
Whenever you are delegating a task to one of your team members, make sure that they don’t already have enough on their plates. Try to be clear about what the task entails, and encourage them to take ownership.
Training and Development:
Provide your team with developmental opportunities, and properly invest in their training. The skill enhancement and growth which would result from such initiatives will boost morale and confidence of the employees, while preventing burnout.
Hobbies and interests must be encouraged if you want a workforce that is engaged with the work, especially if you want to prevent burnout. Too much work and the stress that results from it can lead to exhaustion, and this needs to be counteracted by a hearty engagement with hobbies. As a manager, you should also look to cultivate hobbies that enrich your leisure time.
Learn with DT Evolve:
As managers, you will often find yourself in positions where your skills will be tested to the extreme, and they would be moments that can break or make a career for you. For such situations, you should be well armed with skills to tackle them with confidence. Tackling burnout in your team, as well as for yourself, is one such situation which demands your skills among many others. If you are looking to refresh your skills as a manager, or are trying to learn them as a management student, DT Evolve has a course for you.
This course will enable you to have the best rehearsed and researched skills that a manager should possess ideally. It would aid you in the process of learning to be influential and understanding how successful managers deal with the same challenges. Here’s a link to the course, Must Have Skills for a Manager.
As we have seen in this blog, work burnout is quite a burning issue (couldn’t resist the pun) at the workplace these days. In this blog, we explored it in detail, trying to outline the major causes behind it. These included excessive workload, unclear expectations, lack of control, job insecurity and a toxic work environment.
We then looked into some of the strategies that could be used to combat it, which included open communication, proper delegation of tasks, training and development, encouragement of hobbies and interests, and setting the right expectations. We discussed all these points briefly, and anyone struggling with a burnout, or showing signs of it would benefit from these strategies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Work burnout is a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, and is often caused by a prolonged exposure to work-related stressors. It is generally characterized by a sense of hopelessness, detachment, and reduced effectiveness at work due to prolonged stress.
Common signs of work burnout include feeling constant fatigue, reduced performance, increased errors, detachment from work, irritability, and a general tendency of withdrawal from colleagues and responsibilities.
Managers can identify work burnout by observing signs of decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, changes in mood, or withdrawal from team activities. Regular check-ins and open communication can also help in understanding the stress levels of the employees.
Managers can help in fostering a positive work environment, setting realistic goals, encouraging work-life balance, recognizing achievements of team members, providing adequate resources, and promoting open communication. They should also be on the lookout for signs of burnout and intervene early.
Managers can set reasonable workload expectations, encouraging employees to take breaks and respecting their time off, avoiding excessive overtime, and promoting flexible work arrangements when possible.
Work burnouts can lead to severe health issues such as depression, anxiety, and various cardiovascular diseases. In organizations, burnouts contribute to increased turnover rates, decreased productivity, and a negative work culture which impacts overall performance and profitability.